Dare takes gloss off Fantastic result

Listed furniture retailer Fantastic Holdings has announced a record profit. 

But it rues the effect its struggling Dare Gallery and Le Cornu chains have had on the overall business.

Despite noting “extremely difficult trading conditions”, Fantastic posted a pre-tax profit of $28 million – nine per cent higher than last year. Its second half year profit was up 87 per cent.

But while the core Fantastic Furniture business and its smaller Plush sister recorded strong sales and profit gains, Dare Gallery and Le Cornu suffered declines in both.

Like-for-like growth in the Fantastic-bannered stores rose 3.6 per cent, but Dare’s poor performance dragged the overall company result to a 1.1 per cent like-for-like decline.

As a result a strategic review of the two businesses is underway, with a decision expected by October.

Group sales totalled $437.1 million, up 4.2 per cent, thanks largely to the opening of six new stores during the year taking its nationwide network to 128.

MD Julian Tertini said the early weeks of the new financial year have been positive.

“Fantastic Furniture has continued to perform strongly with same store sales trading ahead of the corresponding period in 2010,” Tertini said.

“The market environment, whilst challenging, is suited to our core business value proposition. Supply chain efficiencies have improved over the past year and our Australian manufacturing continues to deliver sustainable competitive advantage, being an important contributor to Fantastic Furniture’s well known price leadership and resilience in tough times.”

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